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The Pakistan-Afghan Borderland: Pashtun Tribes Descending into Extremism

Dr. Khan Idris examines the impact of Salafists on the tribal, social, political, religious, cultural, and even the daily lives of the Pashtuns. His study utilizes a series of case studies from a small village in the Pashtun border region to demonstrate the transition from traditional Hanafi Sufism to Salafism that has been occurring in the Pashtun tribes that inhabit the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderland. Learn more about the dynamic between religious and tribal leadership. Link to Tribal Analysis Center.

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Women in Battle, Gender Perspectives and Fighting

The Chicken Littles in defense cry that the sky is falling when confronted with the notion of allowing women to join combat arms. They argue that the structure and culture of the American armed forces have and continue to serve the nation well, so change will necessarily lead us down the path of perdition. Moreover, if change is needed, they say it must be generated from within the military to be successful, not by its outsider political masters. Robert Egnell challenges these assumptions with solid arguments and watertight logic. Maybe it’s not a “woman” issue, but an organizational one.  Read full article.


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Islamic State child soldiers: what will happen to the “cubs of the Caliphate”?

Learn how child soldiers serving IS are treated and what they are often required to do. Some of the violence they engage in is chilling, making you question whether they will ever be able to function normally once the fight is over. Interestingly, former child soldiers from Sierra Leone and South Sudan discuss their experiences and how they are faring today. Based on their experiences — equally as horrid –, it seems there is, indeed, hope for the cubs of the Caliphate. Read full article.

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Some common sense about why young people join ISIS

This article is a breath of fresh air. While academics, analysts, and journalists wrack their brains trying to figure out exactly what lures young people to join the extremist group ISIS, Chloe Combi brings us back to the rather dull and commonplace reality of it all.  The reasons young people are willing to board a plane to fly to a war zone and possible lose their lives are some of the same reasons they go to certain clubs, wear just the right clothes, and hang out with their friends. They include: the promise of excitement and a good time, peer pressure, and good old teenage rebellion. For those of us who passed through puberty many years ago, these reasons are believable. Especially to those of us who, likewise, made incredibly bad decisions oh-so many years ago. Read full article.

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Cultural Support Teams could signal the future of Special Ops

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of the recently published book, “Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield,” writes an article about Cultural Support Teams (CSTs) that makes the point loud and clear: women can hold their own in combat and, like men, can be key to successful missions. Collecting critical intelligence, providing security on combat missions, and winning hearts and minds are just some of the things that CSTs have done.  Interesting that although they’ve been doing just what their male team members do, discussions about women in combat still seem to focus on what jobs women are capable of doing or should be allowed to do, rather than acknowledging what they’ve already done. Read full article.

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May Newsletter: Women in Combat

Women in Combat Women serving in combat arms. Such a contentious issue. Because of the strong feelings on each side of the debate, GC360 encourages you — our smart, thoughtful, intellectually curious readers — to go beyond the overly simplistic, knee-jerk reactions that often dominate media coverage of this issue. Instead, dig into the recommended readings to learn about the importance of examining and challenging long-held assumptions as well as waking up to the fact that today’s military isn’t the same as yesterday’s. Moreover, discover that while DoD busies itself with studies to determine whether women should serve in combat and the bickering continues, female soldiers have quietly met the challenge. They’ve been serving on the frontlines in combat zones for years. Been there, done that.

Read the May Newsletter | Click Here to Subscribe

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What the women say about militarism and extremism in MENA/Asia

GC360 is a big fan of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN). Read about, What the Women Say: Militarism & Extremism in the MENA/Asia Region.

“At ICAN’s 2014 Forum on Women’s Rights, Peace and Security, 60 women representing 13 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia – including scholars, journalists, NGO leaders, educators and others – came together with international partners to take stock of developments and strategize ideas and solutions for combating extremism and militarism and promoting peace. Together they adopted a common statement and devised national vision and priorities for their respective countries.” Read all of the statements.

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